The president of a Wisconsin animal shelter is furious after the state Department of Natural Resources raided the facility with armed agents, detained volunteer workers and killed a baby deer named “Giggles.”
“I’m furious,” said Cindy Schultz, president of the Society of St. Francis in Kenosha, Wis. “We are a no-kill shelter. And they killed her. They killed Giggles. I’m furious – furious.”
Schultz told Fox News an Illinois family found a baby fawn that had been abandoned by her mother. The family brought the deer to the Wisconsin shelter.
Staff members nicknamed the deer “Giggles.”
Wisconsin law bans residents or shelters from possessing any live wild animals without a license. Wisconsin does not rehabilitate deer so if they find an abandoned fawn, the creature is left to die, Schultz said.
“We took it of course and we made arrangements to transfer the deer to an animal reserve in Illinois,” she said. “The day before she was supposed to leave, we had the raid.”
On July 15 DNR agents and four deputy sheriff’s staged the surprise raid in what staff workers called a massive and “intimidating” show of force.
According to a state affidavit, the DNR had been conducting aerial and ground surveillance in advance of the raid searching for an “illegally-held live captive Whitetail deer.”
“We didn’t know they were doing surveillance,” she said. “Five days before the raid, a DNR agent was hiding in the woods by our shelter watching the deer walk in and out of the barn.”
Schultz said agents rounded up the shelter’s nine staff members and detained them for nearly three hours as they searched for Giggles.
“They shut down our shelter and wouldn’t let anyone leave,” she said. “Nobody was allowed to use their phones. They were under armed guard.”
A 19-year-old staff member took photographs of the raid, but Schultz said a deputy sheriff confiscated his cell phone and deleted all the pictures.
Agents eventually found Giggles in the barn.
“She was a very scared little deer,” Schultz said. “The poor little thing must have been absolutely petrified.”
According to her version of events, two agents killed the deer in the barn and stuffed her in a body bag.
“It was horrifying,” Schultz said. “Everyone who loved that little deer and wanted to see her go to a wildlife rescue where she could live our her life, saw these DNR thugs haul her out of our no-kill shelter in a body bag.”
But DNR Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer denies that Giggles was killed at the animal shelter.
She told television station WISN the deer was tranquilized and killed at another location.
“These are always very difficult situations for both parties involved and we are empathetic to the fact of what happened because we know in our heart of hearts they tried to do the right thing” she told the television station. “
Schultz said the fact that DNR may have stuffed a live deer into a body bag is even more disturbing.
“If they put her in that bag alive, they’ve got some explaining to do,” she said. “That’s animal cruelty and in Wisconsin that’s a felony. I don’t know what these idiots did out here, but we’re going to find out.”
And she also wants to know why there was such a show of force. Why didn’t the DNR just pick up the phone and call?
“If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” Niemeyer told the television station.
Schultz called that explanation ridiculous.
“Come on, this is a baby deer,” she said.
And that’s not the only thing the DNR agents took. They also discovered a Canadian goose – lounging by the shelter’s pond.
“The goose had been living there for eight years,” Schultz said. “But they grabbed it and said we couldn’t have it on our property.”
The goose was not killed.
“This is so bizarre it’s almost unbelievable,” Schultz said. “They’ve apparently got nothing else to do in Wisconsin.”